Peel CAS and CUPE 4914 have been in contract negotiations since March, 2016. There has been much information circulating about the labour disruption. Peel CAS wants to dispel some of the myths.
MYTH – Peel CAS doesn’t want to get back to the bargaining table
FACT – It is, and continues to be, Peel CAS’s goal to reach a negotiated collective agreement that is both fair to our employees and meets the agency’s mandate. On September 14, 2016 Peel CAS presented a final offer to the union’s bargaining committee that included employee benefit improvements and a wage increase for each of the three years of the contract.
Unfortunately, the union’s bargaining committee rejected this offer and on September 18, 2016 opted to take Peel CAS employees out on strike. It remains Peel CAS’s goal to return to the bargaining table, achieve a negotiated agreement and get our employees back to work.
MYTH – Peel CAS isn’t committed to worker safety.
FACT – Worker safety is an important focus in child welfare. Peel CAS has a numerous health and safety policies and procedures in place including:
- A Joint Health & Safety committee made up of union and management staff reviews incidents and recommendations for improvement or changes
- A joint protocol with police, co-teaming when needed
- A protocol for managing high risk situations to assist staff in situations where staff may be at risk
- An electronic in/out board to ensure we know the location of our staff when they are in the community
MYTH – Peel CAS doesn’t accept the findings of a CAS Workers at Risk 2014 Report on worker safety in Ontario.
FACT – During negotiations with CUPE 4914, Peel CAS agreed to add the following to the collective agreement: The parties recognize the findings of the CAS Workers at Risk 2014 Report on worker safety in Ontario CASs. It’s our understanding that the recommendations are being reviewed by the Ministries of the Ontario Government. Should the OACAS release the final version of the recommendations, within six months, the agency's health and safety committee will meet to discuss these recommendations.
MYTH – Peel CAS doesn’t support manageable workloads for its staff
FACT – Ensuring manageable workloads for our staff is an important issue at Peel CAS. To address workload Peel CAS has added 140 front line workers over the past six years to meet the growing needs of children and families in our community.
MYTH – The strike is not about money
FACT: Outstanding items in the collective agreement, such as workload, have a direct monetary impact.
Reducing or capping caseloads has a direct financial impact as it requires hiring more staff at a cost of approximately $2 million a year. Other items also have financial impact include raising pay grades of a group of employees without substantial changes to their job or increase in their job function. Adding these to our existing offer of $1.8 million would mean an increase of more than $4 million overall. This is funding we don’t have.
MYTH – Peel CAS is spending money on outside workers to prolong the strike
FACT – The care and safety of children and families we work with is our priority. The labour disruption has left Peel CAS with a reduced workforce to provide essential child protection services. In order for us to provide these services to our community we have had to reach out to the management staff of other CASs for assistance. Our compensation offer to these employees from other CASs is consistent with the practice of the Ontario Public Service for labour disruption and within the public sector procurement directive.